Occupy Bilderberg

This weekend the Bilderberg conference is being held at the Westfield Marriott hotel in Chantilly, Virginia. It is fascinating to see how much media coverage the event is getting, and also how many people on Twitter are talking about it. When I first heard about Bilderberg a couple of years ago, I was intrigued. A meeting of the world’s most powerful people from America and Europe? A secret guest list? A secret agenda? But equallyintriguing was how successfully the group had kept their activities secret. I know how hard it was to find information about the Bilderberg Group because of the months of research I did for my novel, Conspire.

When I started writing Conspire, back in 2010, there was literally only a handful of articles about the conference on the internet – mostly written by the Guardian’s Charlie Skelton. Subsequently, a journalist with some similarities to Charlie Skelton actually made it into Conspire. Jump forward two years, and the Guardian has a whole news section on Bilderberg, and Charlie Skelton’s Bilderblog. There is a  Bilderberg hash tag that seems to be loading tweets at a rate of a few each second, and the Bilderberg Group even has an official website now. But the change I am most interested in is the emergence of a new protest group. You guessed it – Occupy Bilderberg. Here is the group’s press release, explaining their mission. They are correct that there has traditionally been a media blackout of the event, and even though this has changed this year, most main stream press outlets are still ignoring the meeting. And they are also correct that this group does represent the 1%, or perhaps even the 0.01% as I saw one tweet suggest.

When I started writing Conspire, there was no Occupy Movement. It began before I finished the book, so thankfully I did have a chance to add a mention of it among the protestors at my Bilderberg conference. I guess in a way I predicted the future with this inclusion. This isn’t the only major world event I forecasted in the book that happened before I finished it. Now, I’m not saying I’m some sort of spooky Nostradamus. But there are some odd coincidences which also show just how much has been going on in the last two years:

  • The Occupy Movement raises questions about the power of groups like the Bilderbergers, as does the central theme of Conspire.
  • Wikileaks burst onto the world stage. Conspire is all about a journalist’s attempt to uncover what the highest levels of power are planning. And yes, Julian Assange was added into Conspire.
  • The relationship between the Pakistani and American secret service became headline news after the death of Osama Bin Laden. Much of Conspire’s plot centers around the activities of the Pakistani and American/UK secret service.
  • News Corp’s media monopoly has been brought into focus after the hacking scandal and the Leveson inquiry. You can find Murdoch – and the power of the press – in Conspire, though his name is changed to protect the innocent (ie me from being sued!)
  • There has been more open debate about Chinese Cyber Crime, which gets a small but significant mention in the plot of Conspire.

I loved every minute of writing Conspire, and now watching some of my fiction become reality, is just as enjoyable as making it up!

This might be a good time to also formally announce that Conspire has been released. If you would like to occupy Conspire, you can find it on Lulu, and Amazon for Kindle. I’m also working to publish it on the iBookstore.

NOTE: Since posting this yesterday, I’ve had more time to look into the Occupy Bilderberg group. Unfortunately it appears that this group was created by Alex Jones. ‘Who is Alex Jones?’ I hear you ask. Here is an article about who he really is, and suffice to say that the Occupy Movement would like him to stay well away from them. In my novel, Conspire, the Occupy protestors at the Bilderberg conference are real Occupy protestors, not profiteering bigots like Alex Jones. I think it would also be safe to say that, although Alex Jones likes conspiracies and Conspire is all about conspiracies, Alex Jones would hate Conspire.

Executive Pay and Risk Taking

Again I apologise for not having posted for a while. Since I last wrote, I have been keeping a close eye on the continued growth and persistence of the Occupy Movement. The images of students at California University sitting peacefully while they are pepper sprayed in the face has really alarmed me.

While I watched this, the voice in my head could find nothing else to say but a long loop of ‘what the fuck?’ The man from campus security looked like he was using fly spray on an infestation of ants in his kitchen.

The Melbourne Occupy Rally received similar treatment, at the demand of Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle. So why is the Occupy Movement so scary to the powers that be (the powers that order and condone their policing forces to behave in this way)? Why are our leaders calling for this movement to be broken up so viciously?

I read an interesting article by Naomi Wolf from the Guardian which suggests that the American Congress are ordering the Occupy Movement out as they are threatened by the goals of the movement, which aims to take the money out of politics. Members of Congress who weren’t already rich before, are now turning themselves into millionaires through all sorts of shady profit making ventures, which are tied to their power and influence in government. The last thing Congress wants is for their wealth to be equal to only the salary that they get from the work they do for the country. Hence the violent reaction.

It is my suggestion that the Occupy Movement is starting to hit a nerve in the corporate world, and that this corporate world already controls our governments to an extent that they rely on each other to promote the status quo. Company executives are very happy with the situation they are currently in, and they are terrified of all these questions about their salaries, and how they can justify their pay increasing exponentially, even while their share prices fall and their companies don’t make a profit. An interesting article about executive pay can be found here, and this article by Tim Dunlop is also worth a read.

This cosy arrangement of rising executive pay, even in terribly run companies, has been going on for too long, and the Occupy Movement is opening people’s eyes to the ridiculousness of it all. While the 99% lose their jobs, they see their bosses walk away with million dollar handshakes. They’re starting to ask “is that person really worth $10 million a year? Or could that money be better spent elsewhere in the company?”

These salaries are often justified by those who receive them as being the reward for taking on the risk of running a company. But let’s think about this ‘risk’ for a moment. Entrepreneurs take risk, and the profit of their company is their reward for that risk. I understand this concept, having started a small business and also by aspiring to write books for a living. But company executives are not entrepreneurs. The only risk they’ve taken is brown nosing the wrong person and failing to end up in the C-Level position they want. Even when these executives fail, and their companies don’t perform well, they don’t lose money, or their house as a failed entrepreneur might. Executives either lose their jobs with a nice contract pay out, or they leave without a payout to live in their multi-million dollar homes. I can assure you none of them are going hungry.

Entrepreneurs create jobs. Entrepreneurs innovate and improve the productivity of our workforces through their ingenuity and risk taking. But company executives are just a drain on the resources of already overstretched companies. The Occupy Movement might just be the beginning of an international realisation that the Emperor is not wearing any clothes.